SMPC marks Earth Day with outside-the-box upcycling

Repurposed container vans are fully functional homes ideal for families.
Repurposed container vans are fully functional homes ideal for families.PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SMPC

The country marks Earth Day today with the government and private sector intensifying their campaigns against garbage and pollution that harm the planet.

While the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ newly-launched Earth Day Every Day drive urges the youth to engage in plastic recycling, an upcycling program of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) is supporting the DENR’s renewed push to reduce waste and foster a culture of sustainability among Filipinos.

SMPC is giving its old shipping containers a new lease on life instead of leaving them to rust away in landfills.

The integrated energy company is repurposing these massive steel boxes into comfortable homes for their employees and the local community in Semirara Island, Antique.

The SMPC initiative isn’t just about providing shelter; it’s a testament to its commitment to environmental responsibility.

Last year, SMPC upcycled 520 container vans into functional and well-equipped homes, diverting tons of waste from landfills in the process.

Embracing circularity, SMPC also used repurposed Semirara clay bricks — made from leftover materials from mining operations — for building the convan houses. This hybrid approach minimizes waste and promotes sustainable resource management.

With two bedrooms, living space, bathroom, dining and kitchen, the convan house is perfect for small families.

Beyond the environmental benefits, this project empowers the local community. The convan upcycling initiative has provided skills training and livelihood for a hundred island residents, fostering economic development alongside environmental responsibility.

SMPC’s innovative housing project serves as a powerful example of how industrial giants can become stewards of sustainability.

Meanwhile, the Koronadal City Environment and Natural Resources Office (KCENRO) is transforming Koronadal into a garbage-free, green city by repurposing accumulated single-use plastic waste. Its recycling facility turns waste into pavement blocks, armchairs, picket fences, flowerpots and hollow blocks.

“The collected waste materials are sent to a sanitary landfill. At this site, trained personnel sort through the waste by separating plastics and bottles. Once sorted, these plastics and bottles undergo a series of processing steps,” said Abril Ma. Lebanan, the supervising environmental management specialist at KCENRO, according to the Philippine Information Agency.

He said that the plastics are cleaned, shredded, and then melted down to be molded into picket fences, offering a durable and eco-friendly fence.

Similarly, glass bottles are processed and converted into bricks, which can be used in construction projects around the city, providing both an eco-friendly building material and an innovative solution to waste management.

KCENRO also issued a call to action for the residents of Koronadal, encouraging them to adopt proper waste disposal habits and engage in waste segregation.

In Bukidnon, the Valencia City Youth Development Office is celebrating Earth Day with a social media call for volunteers to the simultaneous cleanups in P-11 Pantad, Barangay Poblacion and P-1 Pulangui River Boulevard is Barangay Batangan.

Daily Tribune